MILWAUKEE, Wis. – One year ago, the Wisconsin Center was closing its doors as the COVID-19 pandemic began ramping up.
But just one year later the convention center is now welcoming its first youth sports event for 2021 with a detailed safety plan approved by the Milwaukee Health Department. The Wisconsin Juniors Volleyball Club hosts the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Winter Classic this weekend with the Badger Region Volleyball Championships following with three weekends of competition.
“Everything we have done in response to COVID-19 has led us to finally beginning to welcome attendees back to our convention campus in a responsible manner,” said Marty Brooks. “Our enhancement of practices and protocols to ensure the safety of our facilities as well as our continued close working relationship with our health department to remain in compliance paired perfectly with our experience-obsessed approach to events. Clients can be confident we are doing everything we can to allow them to have great gatherings while being careful and following guidance from our health officials.”
The Wisconsin Center continued serving the Milwaukee community throughout the pandemic from hosting the Democratic National Convention to most recently becoming the Milwaukee Health Department’s main COVID-19 vaccination site. Between the Wisconsin Center’s safety and efficiency as a vaccination hub and its response and preparation during the pandemic, the convention center’s safety plan for hosting the volleyball tournaments was well-informed.
“The Wisconsin Center District has collaborated well with our department and its clients to conscientiously bring these tournaments into its spaces,” said Kirsten Johnson, commissioner for the Milwaukee Health Department. “WCD leaders and staff were early adopters of COVID readiness guidelines and were among the first city venues to obtain GBAC STAR-accreditation. After reviewing the safety plan provided, we have given our approval for these events, remaining cautious but optimistic.”
Wisconsin Juniors is expected to bring about 4,000 attendees over the weekend and more than $1.8 million in estimated economic impact to the Milwaukee area. Badger Region has an estimated economic impact of $1.8 million its first week, $1.6 million the second week, and about $1.3 million its third week. Badger Region attendees will range from 3,000 to 4,000 attendees each weekend. However, , no more than 1,250 attendees in the exhibit hall at one time.
“Our hospitality community is very excited to welcome Wisconsin Juniors and Bader Region back to our convention center and back to our city for their volleyball tournaments,” said Peggy Williams-Smith, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee. “This will be much needed stimulation for our local economy furthering the city’s comeback from this pandemic. Additionally, it demonstrates Milwaukee’s ability and expertise in hosting successful events even during a pandemic or hopefully near the end of one. So, future conventions can rest assured knowing that their Milwaukee event will be one of their safest events.”